By Murimi Gitari, June 29, 2023, The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Government of Mozambique signed two grant agreements with a combined value of US$4.2 million. These grants will help to build the resilience of rural communities through improved food security, better nutrition and increased incomes. The funding will be channelled through two existing IFAD-supported development projects.
The agriculture sector in Mozambique provides employment to 70 per cent of the population and accounts for about 27.5 per cent of the country’s GDP, mainly from crop production, forestry, livestock and fisheries. However, the small-scale producers who provide 94 per cent of the food consumed in Mozambique have very little access to mechanization. Productivity is low and farmers lose about 30 per cent of their crops due to post-harvest losses. The situation is made worse by the country’s vulnerability to climate change and the increasing frequency and intensity of severe climate events. Most recently, Cyclone Freddy destroyed about 66,000 hectares of agricultural land, negatively impacting the country’s food security.
“Agriculture still remains the main economic activity in Mozambique with high growth potential given the vast availability of arable land and agroecological diversity,” said Sara Mbago-Bhunu, IFAD Regional Director, East and Southern Africa. “With IFAD’s multidimensional approach, we are actively promoting productivity and diversification of diets as well as increased income and employment. As we work towards the sustainable development of Mozambique’s food system, particularly during IFAD’s Thirteenth Replenishment, our primary emphasis is on addressing the drivers and impacts of fragility to build resilient food systems”
Despite its agricultural potential, Mozambique is a net importer of food. The ongoing Ukraine conflict has negatively impacted the country’s fragile economy, leading to high inflation rates and reducing its ability to produce and ensure the availability of food, driving thousands into food insecurity. Through its Crisis Response Initiative (CRI), IFAD will help strengthen food security by supporting seed production for select value chains, enhancing access to farm inputs, and strengthening food and market systems. Small-scale producers’ increased productivity will reduce the need for imported foods.
Malnutrition is also a key concern, with 38 per cent of the children suffering from chronic malnutrition in the country. With funding from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), IFAD will support the aquaculture sector to tap into the immense unexploited potential of freshwater fish production. The project will increase small-scale aquaculture productivity by providing fingerlings, building fish farmers’ capacity through training, providing technical assistance to feed producers, and linking women and youth producers to markets. The inclusion of fish in children’s diets will make a big difference to their nutritional status and help address the alarming malnutrition rates in the country.
Since 1983, IFAD has invested more than US$386.47 million in 15 rural development programmes and projects in Mozambique worth a total of almost US$581 million. These interventions have directly benefited 2,391,789 rural households.